Zero Order Correlations of Selected Socioeconomic Characteristics with Birth Rates in Latin America, East and Southeast Asia, and Islamic Countries, Circa 1962
25 Countries in 17 Countries in
Latin American East and 15 Islamic
Socioeconomic Characteristics Region Southeast Asia Countries
Per capita GNP -0.42a -0.67bd -0.5 9a
Per capita energy consumption -0.26 -0.733 -0.38
Percent economically active males
not in agriculture -0.85b -0.503 -0.27
Percent literate at ages 15 or over -0.71b -0.55a -0.82b
School enrollment as percent of
population at ages 5-19 -0.44a -0.77b -0.80b
Newspaper circulation0 -0.80b -0.75b -0.82b
Telephones0 -0.94b -0.50a -0.54a
Hospital bedsc -0.83b -0.66b -0.33
Female expectation of life at Not
birth (e0) -0.76b -0.65b available
Statistically significant at 5 percent level.
Statistically significant at 1 percent level or lower. cPer 1,000 population.
Per capita income.
decline in Latin America, though as pointed out above, income is a poor predictor of natality in Latin America. With the important exception of the Philippines., all countries that reached a per capita income of $200 by 1960-64 were then experiencing, or had experienced (e.g., Japan), a rapid fall in the birth rate. In two countries, Ceylon and South Korea, the onset of natality transition occurred at per capita incomes of about $ 125.
For cultural reasons and perhaps because the effects of overpopulation are more salient, peoples in this region have undertaken family limitation at a lower level of Socioeconomic development than in Latin America. As of 1960-64 three countries fell in the threshold area for several Socioeconomic indicators: the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand. South Korea has since experienced rapid fertility reduction, doubtless accelerated by its unusually successful family planning program. The Philippines and Thailand do not have complete enough vital statistics or survey data to measure year-to-year changes. The great bulk of population in this area, in China, India, Pakistan, and Indonesia, continue to have low indices of Socioeconomic development. Although progress has been made and trends are in the right direction, these countries still fall below the threshold for fertility decline indicated by the experience of the more advanced countries of the region. What seems most likely is that some more advanced regions of these countries (such as the Union. Usable data on most variables are available for only seventeen. All the coeffieicnts presented are statistically significant at the 5 percent level and most at the 1 percent level or better. Nevertheless the countries included arc few and scarcely a random sample, so weight should be given to general levels and patterns, not to specific values.